Snapshot: Life with ADD
October 20, 2017
Grace Baden, junior, was 15 years old when her doctor told her the three-word-sentence: ‘You have ADD’.
ADD, or Attention Deficit Disorder, is a chronic condition affecting a person’s attention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness: a derivation from the infamous ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). According to the most updated studies from theCenter for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one in ten (11%) of American school-aged children have received an ADHD diagnosis.
“I would describe ADD as an annoying brain condition I was just born with. To me, it honestly just means that I have a harder time focusing on simple tasks,” Baden said.
Concentrating on homework has always been a difficult task in general for Baden; however, during the beginning of her freshman year, her lack of ability to be focused during class and at home started to have a negative impact on her grades. At that point, with encouragement from her parents, Baden decided to be tested for ADHD.
Waiting for her name to be called in the hospital waiting room, Baden had her head in the clouds. When the test began, it included six hours of game after game of the doctors testing the capabilities of Baden’s attention span.“Let’s just say I failed miserably and left the appointment with a headache and a new diagnosis: ADHD or, more specifically, ADD,” Baden said.
From that day on, Baden has been on a medication called focalin, or Dexmethylphenidate to be exact, the routinal ‘power pill’ which helps her stay on task and be focused. The drug is a helpful resort from the lack of concentration Baden might experience; consequently, focalin can have multiple side effects including: dizziness, insomnia, nausea, heartburn and an upset stomach.
“I start to feel the effects once my appetite goes away, which is usually just before first hour at school, and I don’t feel it going away until 6 p.m. when I get really hungry. Throughout the day, I’m able to focus on the teachers and on classwork. If I forget to take my medication, I’m less focused and much more distracted. It’s a pretty drastic difference if I take my medication or don’t take it,” Baden said.
Unfortunately, these side effects have the power to affect Baden’s most valued everyday activity: running. Due to losses of appetite during the day, Baden hardly eats lunch; this has harshly impacted her running/race performance. Despite these physical setbacks, anybody in the cross country team will agree that Baden is a fun and loving persona: “Grace brings good positive energy to the team every day,” Reilly Albert, senior cross country captain, said.
Although nobody can predict the future, we can positively infer that Baden will progressively learn how to deal with her condition in a way that decreases her symptoms from ADD. As Homestead’s psychologist, William Woessner, confirmed: “As you get older, you may still have it [hyperactivity issues]. But usually, you will gain a better control of your verbalization and behaviors,” Woessner said.
When asked about how she plans to deal with her condition in the future, an inspiring Baden glows with positivity: “I might be able to get more time on the ACT and on future AP exams, which will benefit me so much,” Baden said.